The argumentative student

Kamakshi Balasubramanian

What is an argument?
When we hear the word ‘argument’, we think of heated debates, courtroom battles between highly articulate and clever lawyers, and just plain noisy disagreements between people who hold different opinions and viewpoints.

There’s more to an argument than that.
When we present an argument, we advance facts and reasons intended to challenge or disagree with a viewpoint that differs from the one we hold. In this way, a sound argument is different from a dispute or a conflict. If anything, valid arguments, when presented clearly, help find resolutions to conflicts.

How do we develop an argument?
In many real life situations, whether it is in solving community issues or explaining political developments, we are called upon to justify our belief, conviction, or even an opinion. To establish our position on something, we need to justify it. This justification is achieved mainly through effective use of evidence. Evidence is often factual, but it is more frequently based on good, sound logical reasoning.

Anyone who puts forward an argument is ready and willing to acknowledge that other viewpoints and positions on issues are not only possible but worthy of consideration. Your argument at best underlines the superiority of your reasoning and evidence without dismissing or ridiculing others.

The author is an educator and writer with significant experience teaching at secondary and tertiary levels.

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